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Women, Their Rights and Nothing Less: The First Amendment and the Women’s Suffrage Movement

Explore how the suffragists embraced the First Amendment as a tool to help achieve passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920.

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Persuasion Portfolios

SUMMARY: Students apply what they’ve learned about perspectives and persuasion in Weighing the Arguments and The Tools to Persuade to an analysis of the advocacy surrounding a contemporary issue.

GRADE LEVEL: Middle and high school

TIME: 60 minutes

MATERIALS: Persuasion Portfolios Directions handout (download), Persuasion Artifact Analysis worksheet (download), access to newspaper, magazine or online articles about current social and political issues, including newspapers and magazines


  1. Print copies of the Persuasion Portfolios Directions, at least one per group.
  2. Print copies of the Persuasion Artifact Analysis worksheet, at least 10 per group.

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Overview PDF DOC
Worksheets PDF DOC
Extensions PDF DOC
Full Packet PDF DOC

To request a large print or Braille version, call 202.292.6650.


(Note: For more support, see expanded procedure in downloadable lesson plan.)

  1. Tell students that they are going to apply their knowledge about the women’s suffrage campaign to modern social and political debates.
  2. As a class, review the concepts of fact and opinion, perspective, author, audience, purpose and persuasion techniques.
  3. Brainstorm current social and political issues that generate widespread debate. Keep track of students’ ideas on the board.
  4. Divide your class into small groups and let them select one of the topics to research. Distribute the directions handout and analysis worksheet.
  5. Remind students to find examples of messages representing different viewpoints about their issue.
  6. Individually or in a team, students write a short report summarizing their findings, including the perspective, arguments and evidence of both sides of the debate.
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Have students present their portfolios to the class and discuss their findings. Prompts include:

  • What did you already know about the issue that you chose?
  • What did you learn that surprised you?
  • Which side of the debate were you on when you began this project? Did you change your mind after completing your research? Why or why not?
  • Which of the messages that you found do you think is the most persuasive? Why?
  • Compare and contrast these messages and visual techniques with those the artifacts on the women’s suffrage media map. How are they similar/different?



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